Chronology : 19th century 1870-1879 1887
1872 Les Courses au Bois de Boulogne by Manet
2004 SOLD 26.3 M$ including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
Manet easily entered into artist circles. He enjoys social life and does not wait for the recognition of the Salons. His themes are unlimited. Before him, Courbet went already complacently up to the scandal. Baudelaire and then Zola recognize the originality of his approach.
On May 5, 2004, Sotheby's sold for $ 26.3M including premium Les Courses au Bois de Boulogne, oil on canvas 73 x 94 cm painted in 1872 by Manet, lot 13, from the collection of one of the most famous owners of racehorses, John Hay Whitney. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The artist skillfully mixed observation and imitation. It seems that the topography of the Longchamp racecourse was painted on the spot.
Manet had demonstrated a few years earlier in his first bullfighting scenes that a direct participation in the event was not essential, since he could rely on Goya. Here the horses in full gallop all fly with their four legs lifted, as in the Epsom Derby painted by Géricault in 1821, acquired by the Louvre in 1866. The imperturbable position of the jockeys in full race is not realistic : the sporting effort was obviously not appreciated by Manet.
Manet's painting is however very modern. The track and the lawn are aquamarine blue, highlighting the contrasts in a freedom of colors that anticipates expressionism for several decades. The distance of the subjects is marked by an increasing blur, as if it were a photograph focused on the action in progress in the foreground. This artifice provides the whole composition with an effect of depth, different from the solutions sought by his impressionist friends.
1876 Bal du Moulin de la Galette by RENOIR
Their temperaments are different. They are young and tempted by the good life of dancing balls. While Monet is overtaken by his wife, Renoir expresses the carefree joie de vivre of the groups to which he applies the impressionist style. Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette in 1876 and Le Déjeuner des Canotiers, exhibited in 1882, are among the most important masterpieces of painting.
Renoir painted two identical versions of the Moulin de la Galette. The largest, 131 x 175 cm, became the property of the French State through the Caillebotte bequest and is currently at the Musée d'Orsay. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1990 SOLD for $ 78 M by Sotheby's
The buyer was a Japanese collector named Ryoei Saito, who had acquired the Portrait of Dr Gachet by Van Gogh two days earlier at Christies for $ 82M. Saito creates some terror in the art world by announcing that at his death he will be cremated with the two paintings to avoid that enormous inheritance rights are required to his heirs.
Saito died in 1996. His threat was not carried out because his wealth had turned down and the artworks were sequestered by his creditors, but the two paintings were never seen again. The Van Gogh was reportedly located in 2007 in the collection of an Austrian financier who has since gone bankrupt.
1876 Jeune Homme à sa Fenêtre by Caillebotte
2021 SOLD for $ 53M by Christie's
The young artists were innovating in the brush stroke, but also in the themes. Monet managed to display some instantaneous views of daily realism that went against the expectations of the official Salons. Un Coin d'appartement, painted by Monet in 1875, was acquired by Caillebotte whom it certainly deeply influenced.
In 1876 Caillebotte is invited to participate in the Seconde exposition des peintres impressionnistes. He hangs eight paintings including his masterpiece Les Raboteurs de parquet that does not feature the bourgeois but an instantaneous of three workers preparing the floor in a bourgeois apartment. This picture had of course been refused by the Salon for its ordinary theme in the previous year.
Another scene exhibited by Caillebotte at the Seconde exposition is Jeune Homme à sa fenêtre, mingling the keen interests of the artist for his family and for the bourgeois comfort of the districts recently rebuilt by Haussmann. It features his younger brother René from back, standing at the balcony of the family's apartment to have a look towards the rue de Miromesnil and its sparse pedestrians.
This oil on canvas 116 x 81 cm painted in 1876 was sold for $ 53M by Christie's on November 11, 2021, lot 23C. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The sun bathed rue de Miromesnil is rendered here in a highly realistic brush stroke. Now entered in the Impressionniste group, Caillebotte will then keenly use their style of painting and be instrumental in promoting their exhibitions.
L'Homme au balcon boulevard Haussmann, oil on canvas 117 x 90 cm painted in 1880, is a similar composition from an elevated point executed with an impressionist brushstroke in the trees. It has been sold for $ 14.3M by Christie's on May 8, 2000, lot 8.
1877 Gare Saint-Lazare
In 1876 Monet lost his enthusiasm for Argenteuil. He spends the last months of that year in a more rural atmosphere in Montgeron for the decoration of the Hoschedé residence. Just back from Montgeron he left for Paris with an authorization from the railway administration to work inside the Gare Saint-Lazare.
From January to March 1877 he made a sort of report composed of twelve artworks, four inside the station and eight outside, in varied weather conditions. A passer-by narrated that he saw Claude Monet perched on a stack of crates with his brush in his hand, feverishly waiting for the ambient light to match his expectations.
The choice of this theme is unexpected for this artist but is certainly not a self attempt to be disgusted from the smokes of the city. A better hypothesis is that Monet considered himself as a leader of the new outdoor painting and did not want to be overcome by the urban pictures of Caillebotte and Manet.
Monet painted twelve canvases showing the interior with the platforms or the outside with trains coming or leaving. The result of this creativity is significant. The nauseating smoke of trains mingles with a heavily loaded sky and makes you want to run away.
Indeed when the third exhibition of the Impressionnistes opened in April 1877 his Saint-Lazare series was already completed and it featured prominently in his selection.
His Gares Saint-Lazare will remain forever an unparalleled set. For the very last time he had tried to illustrate the progress. For nearly half a century he will stubbornly devote to landscapes, to monuments and to his garden.
2018 SOLD for $ 33M by Christie's
In the best tradition of early Impressionnisme, this painting offers an ambience through which we can almost perceive heat and smell. Rockefeller did not make a mistake when he bought it. He liked this artwork very much while noting that the asking price had seemed high. It was sold for $ 33M by Christie's on May 8, 2018, lot 26. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
2018 SOLD for £ 25M by Christie's
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1878 Fête de la Paix
Rue Mosnier aux Drapeaux by Manet
1989 SOLD for $ 26.4M by Christie's
After the Franco-Prussian war and the Commune, the Troisième République was established, endeavoring to bring back peace and prosperity. From May to October 1878 in Paris, the Exposition Universelle is the showcase of that recovery.
A Fête de la Paix is inserted in the calendar of the Exposition at June 30 to honor the French Republic. It is an opportunity to let crowds occupy the streets and to hang from the windows the French tricolore flag. Two years later the feast becomes yearly and national and is transferred to Bastille day.
Monet and Manet represented the feast in an opposite style. Monet's Rue Montorgueil is a masterpiece of Impressionnisme, intermingling the atmosphere of the feast with the colors of innumerable flags.
Manet's depiction is not festive but social. The rue Mosnier was painted from Manet's studio window. It is only occupied by sparse horse carriages with bourgeois at mid and far distances. and a disabled man in the foreground, behind a ladder carried by a worker out of field. The one legged beggar in a difficult walk with crutches symbolizes the ravages of war. The top down view reveals a garbage area behind a fence.
Rue Mosnier aux drapeaux, oil on canvas 65 x 80 cm, was sold for $ 26.4M by Christie's on November 14, 1989. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Rue Montorgueil by Monet
1887 Jardin devant le Mas Debray by van Gogh
2023 SOLD for $ 23.3M by Sotheby's
As an artistic movement, the Impressionnisme is in decline in 1886. Monet and some early followers refuse to participate in their eighth exhibition, which will be the last one, because Pissarro supports Seurat and Signac.
Vincent moves to Paris in 1886. He admits that hitherto he had no knowledge of current art. He had admired Millet, Daubigny and Mesdag. He integrates his discovery of Impressionnisme with dazzling energy but, always in quest for a personal and perfect art, he does not imitate them.
In 1886 Vincent painted many views of Paris. In the following year he worked beside Signac in the Parc Voyer d'Argenson overlooking the Seine at Asnières.
Due to bright palette and to the divisionnist strokes in the flowers, the terminus post quem of the Jardin is 1887. The blooming suggests that it was painted in Summer. Nevertheless Vincent was also relying on his imagination. No evidence has been found of sunflowers in Debray's garden.
In his 1889 and 1890 pictures in Provence and Auvers, the influence of Signac on Vincent remains important : the overall effect of a painting is brought by tiny elements of bright colors. For the detail of the texture, Vincent rather retains the long brush strokes intertwined in the white snows of Monet. It is indeed quite difficult for an expert to find a difference in style between the end of his Paris period and Auvers.
Jardin devant le Mas Debray is altogether one of the most impressionist pictures by Vincent and one of his latest landscapes in Montmartre. This oil on canvas 31 x 41 cm was sold for $ 23.3M by Sotheby's on May 16, 2023, lot 114. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
#AuctionUpdate: The radical shift in the work of Vincent Van Gogh that is demonstrated through his piece, ‘Jardin devant le Mas Debray’ and forever altered the history of modern art has been auctioned off at #SothebysNewYork for $23.3M. #SothebysModern pic.twitter.com/nNEVRih8z0— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 16, 2023
1897 Pissarro in Paris
2014 SOLD 19.7 M£ including premium
Considered now as one of the founders of Impressionism, he rather was one of its last precursors. Living in Pontoise and later in Eragny, he painted local themes : the village, the river, the orchards, the peasants. Close to nature, he observes the beautiful colors that vary according to season, time and sky. The Impressionist technique of restoring the shades without using lines matches perfectly his artistic quest.
Many years later, Pissarro is now feeling to be the last guarantor of the impressionist purity against the younger generation of Signac and Bonnard. After a discussion with Durand-Ruel, he begins a series of views of Paris.
In 1897, he rents a room for several months at the Grand Hôtel de Russie to observe the unlimited perspective and the busy life of Boulevard Montmartre. He knows to capture the mood of a moment.
His spring morning with the gas nozzle still lit, the shy sun onto the wet street and the early leaves that do not hide the branches is one of the best views of the series. This oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm is estimated £ 7M for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 5, lot 43 in the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
This beautiful demonstration of impressionist art was sold for £ 19.7 million including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :
1961 Lente Hourloupe in Paris
2015 SOLD for $ 25M including premium
He creates his own artistic style based on trivial and pun. He complacently adds an earthiness that perfectly suits his need to shock. He surprises by his difference and becomes a famous artist.
After several years in the provinces, Dubuffet rediscovered Paris in 1961. The big city appears as a capital of the joie de vivre, the last place where Hemingway had tried to lead a festive life.
The artist interprets Paris in his way in his series of paintings Paris Circus. On May 11 in New York, Christie's sells Paris Polka, lot 22A. The press release of April 7 announces an estimate in the region of $ 25M.
This large oil on canvas, 190 x 220 cm, may be read like a tourist guide with facades and names of dancing halls symbolized by boxes filled with a dancing character. One of these signs, L'Entourloupe (the rotten trick), is anticipating the unprecedented and untranslatable pun that will define the next series of his art (l'Hourloupe).
In the same year, other paintings show Parisian buses fully loaded by his stylized figures, passing signs of various trades in the street. Trinité - Champs Elysées, 116 x 89 cm, was sold for $ 6.1 million including premium by Sotheby's on 11 November 2009. Gare Montparnasse - Porte des Lilas, 165 x 217 cm, was sold for $ 4.7 million including premium by Christie's on May 14, 2002.
1961 The Life on the Grands Boulevards
2016 SOLD for $ 24M including premium
This series is entitled Paris-Circus, where circus has not the meaning of a show but instead of a frenetic activity. In a surrounding of exuberant colors, people are dull, without personality, each one in his box like within a game of the goose and they do not communicate. The drawing is resolutely naive.
Paris Polka evokes dancing rooms and pleasures. This oil on canvas 190 x 220 cm was sold for $ 25M including premium by Christie's on May 11, 2015.
Humor comes back even bitter in Les Grandes Artères, oil on canvas 114 x 146 cm for sale by Christie's in New York on November 15, lot 17 A estimated $ 15M. Please watch the videoshared by the auction house.
The composition is made in three parallel registers successively showing the roadway, the sidewalk and the dense urban pattern of shops and buildings.
In the foreground, each driver is alone in his car, stuck in traffic jam and stuck in his attitude. The childish figure is reinforced by identifying the brand of the vehicle and its license plate.
The titles of the shops are countless puns. Their often incongruous identification remind that the big city is a threat to the individual : A l'issue fatale (fatal outcome), Faillite (bankruptcy), Fruits et légumes du désespoir (Fruits and vegetables of despair). Poetry is not absent : Fin de saison (end of season) is in line with Salaisons (salted meat). The artist adds his recommendations : Buvez froid (drink cold), Urinez souvent (urinate frequently).